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Miracles in Mentalism and Psychic Experimentation
by Robert A. Nelson


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Miracles in Mentalism and Psychic Experimentation by Robert A. Nelson

27 contributors! 50 amazing effects!

Some of magic and mentalism's most trusted authorities have collaborated to bring you this outstanding collection of time tested and audience proven effects. Not just one or two routines, but fifty from which you can easily select several excellent psychic programs. A Genii Award-winning book, now brought up to date in this latest, revised edition.

Effects from John Booth, Paul Curry, Eddie Clever, Norm Cummins, Bruce Elliott, Dr. C.G. Ervin, Hen Fetsch, Dr. Walter Grote, Stewart Judah, Capt. Jones, Joe Keller, Fred Kolb, Wilbur Kattner, Bill Larsen, Richard Lindahl, Orville Meyer, Bob Nelson, Al O'Hagan, Dr. Wm. Palchanis, Andrew Smythe, Dr. Harlan Tarbell and Jack Vosburgh.

Your audience will thrill to Judah's Sealed Billet Reading; Dr. Grote's Telepathy vs. Coincidence is an outstanding mental accomplishment, with full patter; Frederic Kolb's Dead Name Duplication is a knockout; The Green Hand and 8th Key to Baldpate will intrigue any spectator; Grant's Prediction Deck can easily be made and is a brain buster; A terrific slate routine by Norm Cummins, using ordinary slates; Eddie Clever gives you 'Out of the Ether'; and many other super miracles.

Paul Fleming wrote:

In few fields of endeavor is a willingness to follow the leader more pronounced than in magic. Gali-Gali and his baby chicks, DeRoze and his magic drinks, Tarbell and his famous rope - these and other magicians have had such a host of followers that they should feel greatly "set up," if, as has been said, imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery. At the moment, because of Joseph Dunninger's current renown, we are experiencing a veritable epidemic of so-called mindreading of various types. So numerous have mental wizards become that the readers of one of our magical journals were recently urged not to invade the province of the mental worker, which, according to this particular editor, requires a style of presentation that is not readily acquired by the average conjurer. We doubt that this advice will be taken any more seriously than were the exhortations, expressed a good many years ago, against wholesale imitation of the highly artistic and financially remunerative card and cigarette manipulations of Richard Cardini.

Many books on mental magic have appeared in the past few years - and still they cornel. The latest is Miracles in Mentalism, by Robert A. Nelson, whose Encyclopedia of Mentalism has been enjoying a good sale for a year or so. His present publication is a less pretentious work. It is a booklet, bound in soft boards, containing 54 pages of explanatory material and illustrated with 17 line drawings. It is a compilation of 41 effects, six of which are by the author himself and others by contributors who include such well-known magicians or writers as John Booth, Harlan Tarbell, William W. Larsen, Stewart Judah, Eddie Clever, Orville Meyer, Henry Fetsch, Bruce Elliott, Dr. Walter Grote, and perhaps a dozen others. Six of the tricks are reprinted from other publications - four from The Phoenix, one from The Linking Ring, and one from The Strange Inventions of Dr. Ervin by Dariel Fitzkee. Yet another is presented as an improvement on a feat which appeared some six months ago in Hugard's Magic Monthly.

Miracles in Mentalism can scarcely avoid comparison with Annemann's Practical Mental Effects (which we examined in Review No. 87), for the two books cover the same general field of magic, and each of these collections of tricks may fairly be compared with the other. Indeed, a number of writers have contributed to both books. This fact, and the general excellence of the material contained in both, make it difficult and unnecessary to distinguish between them on the basis of quality. So far as getting his money's worth is concerned, the prospective purchaser may wish to keep in mind that the Annemann book is a thread-sewn, cloth-bound volume which explains 193 mental effects, as against the Nelson wire-stapled booklet with its 41 tricks of the same type. If he is attracted by the greater quantity and better book-making (and, in addition, the superior editing) of the Annemann volume, he will doubtless give heed, also, to the fact that the Nelson booklet costs less than a third as much as the larger work. Happily, it is not our task to decide which of the two is, for a given individual, the better buy. Both, as we have suggested above, are first-rate compilations of what many magicians are wont to call "miracles."

We regret having to report that Miracles in Mentalism includes two tricks which require confederacy. As we have said before, and shall doubtless have occasion to repeat in the future, the use of confederates strikes us as definitely illegitimate. So, also, does the practice of trying to convince an audience that mental feats are genuine, as is recommended on pages 6 and 17 of this booklet. Sooner or later, magicians are going to have to face this issue squarely and decide whether fake mindreaders (those who claim or imply that their work is genuine) do not belong in the same category as fake spirit-mediums, whom magicians as a class have long since condemned and disowned. On this troublesome problem we shall some day write at length, possibly when and if we review Mr. Nelson's Encyclopedia of Mentalism, in which he advises the "mentalist" to adopt what seems to us a startlingly cold-blooded attitude toward his audience. For the present, then, we merely register a vigorous dissent from the idea that a magician may claim to be a genuine mindreader and still remain an intellectually honest man.

1st edition 1945; this digital edition revised, corrected, with added photos and illustrations, 65 pages.
word count: 28725 which is equivalent to 114 standard pages of text